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Retail sales fall a fourth month

Retail sales volume fell for the fourth month as all sectors saw declines in April except for motor vehicles and food.

Total sales at stores fell 1.2 percent for the month as consumers spent an estimated $82.1 million on goods, the Department of Statistics said.

Sales activity declined in all retail sectors with the exception of motor vehicle retailers and food stores which recorded increases of 4.4 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Retailers of building materials reported the strongest decline in sales for the month of 20.6 percent year-over-year.

Residents returning to the Island declared overseas purchases valued at $5.4 million during April, some 10 percent less than the $6.0 million declared in April 2012. Combined local and overseas spending totalled $87.5 million.

After adjusting for the annual retail sales rate of inflation, measured at 1.6 percent in April 2013, the volume of retail sales fell by 3.9 percent.

There were 27 shopping days during the month, two more than in April 2012.

Sales of building materials plummeted 20.6 percent during April 2013, reflecting a slowdown in home improvements and major commercial construction activity.

But gross receipts for food stores increased 2.5 percent in April 2013. This growth is partly attributed to the 3.6 percent rise in the price of the food basket. In contrast, sales revenue for liquor stores dipped 9.8 percent, despite the 1.5 percent rise in the price of alcohol during the month.

Consumer demand for clothing and footwear continued to weaken. As a result sales revenue for apparel stores declined for the third consecutive month, falling 2.8 percent below the sales level reached in April 2012.

Sales receipts for service stations decreased 2.7 percent year-over-year. This decline was linked to the 2.5 percent drop in fuel prices.

Sales within the all other store types sector marginally declined by 1.0 percent. Gross receipts for tourist-related stores abated 18.2 percent, while sales receipts from boat and marine supplies stores slipped 5.0 percent. Sales of pharmaceutical products registered a decrease of 1.4 percent, when compared to the same month of the previous year. In contrast, sales of furniture, appliances and electronics rose 5.1 percent.

Motor vehicle dealers recorded a 4.4 percent increase in sales revenue. There was a minimum rise in the volume of both cars and motorcycles sold in April compared to the same month in 2012.

Residents declared 5.4 million or 10.0 percent less in overseas purchases than in April 2012. Decreased outlays on clothing and footwear, and electronic and photographic equipment contributed to the decline in the total value of declarations in April 2013. However, this outcome may have been partly due to the new HM Customs Green/Red channel system for declaring goods at the airport introduced in November 2012.

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Published June 06, 2013 at 4:36 pm (Updated June 06, 2013 at 4:36 pm)

Retail sales fall a fourth month

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